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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Puljujarvi’s Agent: “I’m Not Sure Jesse Is Going To Go Back To Europe.”

Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent Markus Lehto added another chapter to the trade talk yesterday when he went on Vancouver radio to talk about his clients Olli Juolevi and Puljujarvi.

Lehto discussed many things, but he stepped back from his earlier statement about Puljujarvi playing in Europe this coming season.

When asked about heading back to Europe Lehto said, “First off, I’m not sure Jesse is going to go back to Europe. I don’t think Jesse himself ever, or I don’t think I did, ever told anyone that unless he’s traded he’s for sure going to be back in Europe.

“What Jesse has been saying to Kenny (Holland, Oilers GM) and everybody else, and what I’ve been saying, is we just don’t think it’s going to work out any more. He could definitely benefit from a fresh start. I think he deserves a fresh start. I think he has done everything that Edmonton coaches, management…they had a plan. He went down three times to the American League. Every time he played excellent and he was brought back up, right?

“It’s very unfortunate, I think that it’s been in the media a little bit, in Jesse’s mouth there has been put all kinds of words and in my mouth too. I never actually said anything. We’ve been having a really good dialogue with Kenny Holland about the trade possibility and obviously I’ve got so many teams calling me, asking what’s going on. Obviously nothing has happened yet,” Lehto said.

He is correct that Puljujarvi never said it, but in an interview with Mark Spector a few days before the NHL draft this quote was right at the top of the article: “If he doesn’t get traded,” Lehto confirmed, “he will play in Europe next year. He will not play in Edmonton.”

Things change, but unless Spector misquoted him, which didn’t happen considering Lehto never came out the next day to say he never said that, then Lehto has changed his tune. Which is fine, we have all changed our tune at times, but don’t claim you don’t think you said it, when you did. He likely made a statement like that to get a trade moving, but to suggest he didn’t think he said it isn’t a good look. Own it.

Regardless of what he said, three weeks later nothing has changed on the Puljujarvi front, and clearly Holland is in no rush to make a trade. He will make a deal if it helps the team, and I was told the Oilers, and some other teams were unaware that Henri Jokiharju was on the table. Not every team knows about every trade possibility. I still remember many GMs seething when the Bruins traded Joe Thornton, because the Bruins never mentioned he was available. I’m surprised the Hawks would trade Jokiharju for Alex Nylander considering Jokiharju played with Duncan Keith at times last year. But I digress.

When Holland hired Dave Tippett he spoke with Lehto and he told him there would be a clean slate under the new coach and GM, but Lehto said a trade was better. That was surprising to Holland, but he’s been around for three decades so he’s seen a lot. As he said in his most recent press conference, “In Detroit we had players who asked to be traded. Some of them played in Detroit again, and others never did.”

During his interview on Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver yesterday, Lehto was asked if Puljujarvi might consider returning to Edmonton with Holland in charge.

“Well, that’s something that really kind of makes Jesse and really myself think that he should try and go back. But at the same time it’s a lot like a confidence issue here. If he goes back and all of a sudden things don’t really work out, you know, are we then in the same low point again? Which is not going to help either Oilers nor Jesse. And then what’s going to happen after that? Then for sure maybe we lose a player who definitely is an NHLer.”

Later Lehto went deeper on his concern about Puljujarvi’s confidence.

“Of course I’m afraid and worried about that and I think everybody else would be worried about that too. We all have our responsibilities towards a young athlete, right? Not just as an agent. I have a responsibility, but the teams that draft these guys too, you know, they have some responsibilities for these guys too, you know. So when you draft a guy, even if he’s a high, high, high pick and expectations are really high, you kind of have to help these guys to become as good an athlete and player as they can be, right? They need support and help. Not just like, ‘Well, we drafted you, you do whatever we want, right?’. That’s the way I see it, how it should be, right? It’s a two-way street. It’s up to the athlete too. It’s not just a one-way street,” said Lehto.

I completely agree with this statement.

No doubt confidence is a major factor in Puljujarvi’s early NHL struggles, and much of that was due to how the Oilers mishandled him. As Lehto accurately said earlier, Puljujarvi went to the AHL three times, played well, but was recalled. The Oilers really screwed up recalling him last year after he had four points in four games. They should have let him stay there for a month, maybe more, so he could regain his confidence. The argument he didn’t want to be there is irrelevant. Most players who have been in the NHL would prefer to go back rather than stay in the AHL, but what was Puljujarvi going to do? Quit?

I doubt it, so the Oilers botched their final opportunity to have him develop in the minors. That isn’t an option this year, as he requires waivers to be sent down and there is zero chance he’d clear.

My stance on Puljujarvi hasn’t changed since the day he was drafted. I wrote the Oilers needed to be patient with him. I looked at other European players and the majority of Finnish players didn’t become offensive contributors until they were 22 and that includes Teemu Selanne, Mikko Koivu and other top Finnish players.

Where Puljujarvi was drafted shouldn’t matter. The reality is only ten 18-year-old players have debuted in the NHL the past five years, which means 99% of them aren’t ready. Why the Oilers felt Puljujarvi was made no sense. It was the wrong call. And they did send him down halfway through the year. Then at 19 he started in the AHL again, but he was recalled after ten games. He’d scored five points in ten games, but only one goal. He played 65 games with the Oilers and had 12 goals, which was decent, but he never looked confident or overly comfortable.

It seemed the Oilers wanted him to be an NHL player now, regardless of how he played. It was the wrong decision time and time again.

But none of that is on Holland or Tippett. Holland has a proven track record of not rushing players, but he won’t have that option with Puljujarvi, but the communication between Tippett, Holland and Puljujarvi will be different than the previous regime, simply because they are different people.

The challenge is: how can the Oilers play to win while helping Puljujarvi regain or maintain his confidence? It is extremely difficult to do, and maybe Puljujarvi won’t ever do it here, but this situation was completely avoidable had the Oilers just kept him in the AHL.

OPTIONS…

Lehto has a right to be concerned about his client and his confidence, but at the same time he should recognize there might not be a better chance in the NHL for Puljujarvi to regain his confidence. No team in the NHL has the combination of skilled centres and a lack of proven wingers. If Puljujarvi has a good preseason and gains some confidence he will have a great chance to play with some skilled players. If he is traded to another team he will most surely have more competition for a wing position.

Things can change quickly in the NHL, and so can confidence and how a player feels within his organization. Zack Kassian wanted a trade early last year, but one never came and then he had an outstanding second half of the season.

Maybe Puljujarvi can do the same, maybe he can’t, but it seems his agent has clearly softened their stance on going to Europe.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • toprightcorner

    I can’t help but think that Jesse and some of the other Oilers players have had a falling out. Normally a player would consider giving a new manager and coach a chance, in hopes of getting a better opportunity. He has said he loves Edmonton as it reminds him of living back home. It obviously isn’t the coach or the GM, so it has to be something in the dressing room. If I were Holland and Tipp, I would definitely want to know what the real issue was.

    • TKB2677

      I agree. The agent talked about lack of confidence being the problem. I get that. But all it takes is the right coach to put you in the right spot to succeed and your confidence will soar in an instant. All you have to do is look at Chiasson last year. He started at the bottom. When he got in, he played his ass off, which got him noticed. He moved up quickly and had a great year.

      Is there any team in the NHL who desperately needs wingers on cheap deals than the Oilers? NOPE! I don’t think there is a team that could provide more opportunity that the Oilers. There is no guarantees he goes to another team and does well. So something tells me, the guys in the room are sick of his act, don’t want him around and he knows it because why else would you not be willing to give it 1 yr.

      • HockeyYoda

        I so agree with you Tkb2677. Although a lot of people here like to blame management for his development. I still believe it’s on the player. If you’re good enough…you’ll make it. Especially on a team starving for wingers. If he was trying to crack a stacked lineup and wasn’t given a chance to play in the top 6 that would be different.

    • GoOilersGuy

      I have had similar assumptions about JP’s integration with his team mates. If that’s the case, it’s not insurmountable and they all have to get over it and put it behind them for the sake of the team. It’s still an assumption though….but there were other things that happened that are factual;
      1)JP’s english is not where it should be. Primarily that’s on him. Good communication would help.
      2)Hitch was in a tough spot for wingers and brought JP back too early, that’s on the team and specifically Hitch and Chiarelli
      3) IMO, his agent is not giving him good advice and he certainly has not helped his client by going public on the radio or media. Doing that has added extra complications to overcome. That’s on JP, he should really consider getting a different agent.
      4)The team own his rights and they have invested in him and he needs to understand that whether he likes it or not. Until he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the Oilers are in the driver’s seat. He needs to adjust his attitude, work hard to prove he can be a player and be a good team mate.
      5) This is an assumption but I think the fans would like to see JP succeed as an Oiler….

  • TKB2677

    @ed from Edmonton

    100% agree man. I would have expected the team once he came over to help him out but the fact he had nothing in the way of English when he came over was a complete joke to me. Every other team, media guy and scout had JP as the #3 guy. During the year he was rated higher than Laine. So the fact only Finnish GM in the NHL who probably would have access to sources most teams don’t, didn’t want to touch JP, says a lot about the player. I am not trying to pass off blame from the Oilers. They screwed up. But the fact that this guy didn’t bother to take English classes when in his country a HUGE majority of people take English as a second language, tells me just how immature and utterly unprepared he was and tells me that maybe this guy has some issues with commitment when it comes to doing what it takes to succeed. The team plays a part in a players development but the player also has to do be willing and put in the work.

    • Jason Gregor

      Columbus wanted a Centre. JP isn’t a centre. When a Canadian GM passes on a Canadian kid and takes a Euro or American I don’t see you or others bringing up, “Oh he must be a bad, because the Canadian GM passed on him.” Columbus like Dubois because he was a centre and they desperately needed one. And felt he was just as good as JP. And guess what they didn’t play Dubois in NHL at 18. They sent him back to junior. Amazing what happens when you don’t rush players. Hard work isn’t Puljujarvi’s issue. He has tested extremely well in camp testing, so let’s pump the brakes on the character assinations. At 18 he didn’t take English classes. You mean an 18 year old didn’t make the best decision. Shocking. Doesn’t mean is afraid of work. And he did take the classes when he was 19, but that isn’t why he didn’t succeed in the NHL. He wasn’t NHL ready. He wasn’t NHL ready. He wasn’t NHL ready. Everything is whitenoise. Oilers screwed up rushing him. That is the main issue.

        • Jason Gregor

          I will ask Craig next time I see him if he thinks a player can develop in the NHL when he isn’t ready. Blaming 80% of this on Puljujarvi is freaking asinine.

          • Towers-of-dub

            is he NHL ready now? If he’s not, why would someone claim him off waivers, knowing that he’s not capable of playing NHL hockey, and also knowing they can’t send him to the minors because he needs to clear waivers? If edmonton sends him down, and he’s claimed off waivers, is the team claiming him then able to send him to the AHL without clearing waivers? I’m assuming they’d have to send him down if he’s not NHL ready, and the NHL isn’t a development league.

          • HockeyYoda

            Totally disagree. I don’t care what language you speak, if you’re good enough, you’ll separate yourself from the pack. Russian, Slovakian, etc. players come over here, and can hardly speak a lick of English but they make the team because they can play and they can find chemistry with their teammates. Would JP be taking this stance if he was a fifth round draft pick? Not a chance. It would be like, who the hell are you. Go back to Europe then. He clearly feels a sense of entitlement. Whether that’s because of his draft position or his own arrogance. Shut up and work on your game. Then you can probably crack the roster of one of the easiest teams to make in the NHL.

      • Ken Holland

        Why is he still not fluid in english?

        He rarely ever makes a skill play. Never seen him on a 2 on 1, a breakaway. Never seen him beat a defender 1 on 1.

        This player either has an extremely low hockey iq, or is mentally too fragile to play in the NHL.

      • Serious Gord

        You understate the impact of the cb GM not taking him.

        This was the first Finnish GM making his first draft selection ever and he doesn’t pick the consensus number 3 who is also a Finn. That’s a far more unique situation than the examples you put forward.

      • OilerForLife

        He would have one year signed to play in NHL this year if they didn’t burn the first year of his entry level deal. His contract would be signed and would have to play in Edmonton this season and he could show us what he could do after his operation. This was an mistake of astronomical proportion and with Holland it’s unlikely to be repeated under his watch. This organization can’t afford to make this type of mistake again.

      • Moneyball

        Comparing a Canadian GM to a Finnish GM is not the same. The Canadian hockey community is large and vast, whereas the Finnish hockey community is a much smaller tight night group. If you had a Canadian GM from Melville Saskatchewan pass on a 3rd overall pick from a kid in Melville Saskatchewan you would assume this gm had contacts and knowledge in the community other gms lacked. The same comparison goes for a Finnish gm. The same can not be said about a GM from Vancouver and a kid from Toronto in the draft. Before passing over Jessie you can assume that Columbus did a lot of due diligence and discovered what was always before everyone’s eyes. Jessie only did really well in one tournament, has raw talent but never really dominated anywhere. He is a big question mark with a lot of development risk. Which is what the Oilers scouting team missed and the team is now learning. He may not be a great or even good player.

    • ed from edmonton

      JP and his agent are also not without fault wrt his “development”. Anyone who doesn’t understand the demand of playing at least 40 games in the NHL his first year isn’t paying attention.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Jesse is not an NHL star winger, but on the Oilers, he could be the 3rd best winger. It’s time for him and the coaching staff to work together on his development. This is his last shake at it, he best get his game face on and put the dumb smile away until he has something to smile about.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    If there there was an uncomfortable air in the room from Jesse’s perspective, his agent has now made it impossible for Jessie walk back in there by saying “he won’t play in Edmonton”. The team-committed players won’t stand for under-achieving kids pulling diva maneuvers while they are killing themselves to get better and make the playoffs.

  • Oil_in_the_Desert

    I realize this will be an unpopular post. Pencil him in the top 6 and give him some quality PP time. Jesse’s got skill – lots of it. He literally has everything this site says the Oilers need – winger, size, speed, RH, shot. We’re all down on the management and Jesse for the past couple years. I have faith – Jesse will score 20+ with the Oilers in 2019-20.

    • Towers-of-dub

      he lacks NHL level hockey intelligence. He’s a liability for McDavid, Draisaitl or Nuge. If he’s on the ice with those guys, they have to do his thinking for him.

      • ROILYDoGG$

        I agree with most especially TKB2677, that he should have been enrolled in English classes and if his agent never helped him or advised that it’s a strike for me. Then how he’s thrown Jesse and The Oiler organization in the spotlight to force a trade is strike 2&3. The guy seems like a snake and giving poor advice. Jesse is young and following people that are not out for his best interest even though we never handled him he best. They kept giving him opportunity but he never grabbed it and took the spot. Both parties are at fault I say and having the new coach and GM in place should be a clean slate for both to reset. Show up to camp ready to play and see what happens.

  • 5x Spinaronie

    Good Article Gregs. When you said “He played 13 games with the Oilers and had 12 goals, which was decent, but he never looked confident or overly comfortable”. I dont remember him going on that stretch. Id say that would be more than decent.

      • Reg Dunlop

        Lets see. Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Paajarvi, Plante, Nash, Schremp, Pouliot, Niinamaki, Mikhnov, Rita and Heinrich. That covers the last 2 decades of 1st round mistakes. If you think that the Oil rarely botch drafting in the 1st round, why have they been the worst team in the league for the last 20 years? Bad luck? The sun was in their eyes? We’re all reading the standings upside down?

        • Towers-of-dub

          they do a bad job of drafting, but they don’t screw up everyone they draft. Most of those guys should never have been drafted in the first round. Some of them shouldn’t have been drafted at all. They were simply not NHL players. So, yes, bad at drafting, but they didn’t screw up Nuge, Draisaitl, McDavid, Hall, Eberle, Nurse, or Klefbom

        • Shameless Plugger

          Have you checked out other teams draft botches, or are you solely focused on the Oilers? If you researched other teams you’d find a litany of poor first round choices. These are kids that teams try to project yet you speak as though drafting is some sort of perfect science.

          • HockeyYoda

            Shameless plugger this is true. I was checking it out a while back and it seems if you can manage to consistently hit on at least
            1 player per draft…typically your 1st pick. You will have well a stocked cupboard of young talent.

        • Shameless Plugger

          2003?? Really thats 16 years ago most of those players either don’t play in the league anymore or are winding up their careers. What does that have to do with recent drafting and development ? Furthermore he said high pick. The list of players selected past 10th overall (which is where high pick ends for me) who haven’t had success in the NHL is endless. They’ve done quite well with their high picks recently. Beyond that sure we can agree they haven’t don’t the best. But I think Eberle, Klefbom and Dubnyk have panned our fairly well. Hindsight is always 20/20 when talking about drafting 18 year old kids.

          • Shameless Plugger

            There isn’t a single team in the league that doesn’t have blemishes on their draft record. Pick a team and I’ll provide you a list of players they took vs. a list of players they could have taken. Again hindsight is always 20/20.

  • HelpMeBabyJesus

    I think everyone would love to see this kid succeed. He needs to suck-it-up and improve his English, learn to work out like a pro and stop sticking his tongue into his nose while sitting on the bench. He has a fresh start with the new coach and GM in place and just needs to start acting like a pro…get this boy a mentor for goodness sake!

  • Just facts

    The fact the Oilers didn’t know Jokiharju was available, when the whole world knew Jesse was, means the Hawks had already decided Jesse wasn’t someone they wanted. Suggests that it may be very difficult to move him for anything meaningful, even another “damaged” prospect.

  • Vanoil

    Great, now we are stuck with a player that has no Hockey IQ and no trade value. If Chicago was looking at reclamation projects and prepared to send out Jokiharju, you can rest assured Stan Bowman was aware of Puljujaarvi, and took a pass. That alone should say something — passing on a physically mature but absent minded “power-forward”, in lieu of a smaller, smarter, and more dynamic (though equally inconsistent) “skilled forward” — shows where each team sees their style and the league trending. Again, there doesn’t appear to be a large market for Pujujaarvi “as is”, the longer this goes on, the less likely there will be a valuable return coming back; worse still the roster spot might set the entire team back the longer this drags on.

        • Towers-of-dub

          he’s not an NHL player. The NHL isn’t a development league. He can’t be sent down because he won’t pass thru waivers even though he’s not an NHL player. I don’t understand the concern with this guy. He can’t play hockey at the NHL level, but he can’t be sent down to the minors because someone will claim him off waivers, even though they can’t develop him because the NHL isn’t a development league, and they can’t send him down because someone will claim him off waivers….this just seems like it’s going round in circles to me.

    • nbandito

      I think it has more to do with not doing business with unreasonable player agents demanding trades and affecting asset value. When was the last time one of these agents, pretending that they hold the power to demand a trade, succeeded in controlling a GM? That agent has piled a heap load of additional stress onto Jesse’s shoulders.

    • Derzie

      Hockey IQ is HUGE. It’s why Jesse struggles and it’s why Sam Bennett never met expectations. And why Tkachuk does, even as a sub-par skater in a speed league.

  • Ken McTippett

    This kid is not going to get a better opportunity to play in the NHL on the regular than he will with the Oilers. He needs to suck it up and report to camp ready to work hard. Nobody else wants him, otherwise he would have been traded by now.

    • This is the answer all day long. He has no leverage to be calling shots. Be in shape and ready to compete Kassian for a jackpot wing position. Conner’s wingers need to earn their chance, gifting hasn’t worked.

      • Dave Marks

        The competition is signing skill & physicality … Holland sits quietly appreciating same … that’s not of concern to you … ? I mean, the Oil miss out on the playoffs again this coming season they will set a new all-time NHL futility record. Is there no pressure that comes with that … at all?

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    First off Jesse’s agent has handled this whole situation with Jesse badly since he first was trying to force a trade. From appearances it looks like Jesse’s agent initially thought he could help force a trade by saying Jesse wont play here next year and get Holland to trade Jesse, now that Jesse’s agent is finding out that Holland is going to stand fast and not give Jesse away for nothing like Chia might have all of a sudden now it’s Jesse doesn’t want out of Edmonton but it’s not the right fit but Jesse wont go to Europe but will play for the Oilers is the vibe I get.

    This looks more and more like Jesse’s agent thought he could play hardball with the Oilers by saying Jesse wont play for the Oilers this season and because Holland isn’t buckling to the Trade demands Jesse’s agent was starting to see the writing on the wall that Jesse may now be faced with playing in Europe because there might not be a spot for him in the lineup, and Jesse’s agent is now having to explain to his client that he may have to play in Europe this season instead of in the NHL. Now I get that the media can take things out of context and things and get mixed up in the translation in interviews but I am not buying that this is the case here, Jesse’s agent has been beating and fanning the flames of Jesse needs to be traded to another NHL team since the trade deadline last year, so his it’s all a big misunderstanding seems like it’s a bunch of hooey and its got himself and his client backed into a corner and is now trying to tone down his rhetoric to save face.

    Sorry but if I am Jesse, he needs to just tell his agent to shut it and Jesse needs to have someone who understand Finnish and English get on a conference call with himself, that person and Holland and talk about things and Jesse should get the straight goods on the situation, because anyway you slice it Jesse’s agent has done a terrible job on Jesse’s behalf here. I wouldnt at all be surprised if now that Jesse is back overseas he is jest now realizing by reading and talking to the media there what his agent has been saying and that he have to play in Europe in stead of the NHL this seasons and his agents take it or leave it demands have put him in a bad spot, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesse or someone close to him came down on his agent about the situation and told his agent to fix this mess and why we are seeing this “not my fault, everything was just a misunderstanding and misconstrued” speech

    • Reg Dunlop

      It is also possible that the agent is carrying out JP’s wishes, even though he advised his client that his actions may be later regretted. For example, JP may have wanted to return to Finland to play next year but when teams there had ZERO interest, he got his agent to backpedal like little Michael Jackson moonwalking in Thriller.

    • Dave Marks

      There’s pretty much a spot in the Oil’s lineup for anybody that can lace a pair of skates. One need look no further than Brandon Manning, Petrovic, Spooner, Rattie, Lucic, Brodziak, Cave & Jurco to see that.

      • Shameless Plugger

        Only Petrovic, Spooner and Rattie are no longer under contract to the oilers. Like the old saying goes you can’t fix stupid. Thanks you for proving that statement to be true.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        LOL Old Brad has Value Village fans seething because his big off season acquisition…Talbot… You should go and join the planning committee for that Stanley parade right now, you know with the addition of Talbot I am sure you wont be bounced in the first round now. congrats!

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Oh look Petey is back using his Shirley joke line again, just how many accounts do you have here that you post under, got to stop getting banned all the time, but guess they are good for upvoting yourself…lol

  • daryl

    At this point Jesse has no choice but to go to Europe. Holland isn’t going to trade him now for pennies on the dollar and the AHL thanks to previous management is not possible.

  • Oily Reign

    The more Jesse’s agent speaks, the more I think that Jesse and his agent are to blame for his poor development. The problem seems to be Jesse’s camp has been driving his development schedule and Oiler’s Management under Chia didn’t have the balls to say no to them. Puli needs to fire his agent to the sun, come into training camp as a “new” prospect with a new coach and GM… or… just leave.

  • toprightcorner

    Lehto screwed up big time!!

    He tried to force a trade to Holland by telling the Media (Spector) that Jesse would play in Europe before he would play with the Oilers. Problem is, he never had anything lined up, so it was an empty threat. Right after that interview, Holland replied by saying he would NOT be rushed into any trade and if Jesse played in Europe then thats what he can.

    Holland called Lehto’s bluff and Lehto had to scramble to try to find a team in Europe for Jesse so his threat would actually be valid. Problem is, he can’t find anything even close to the same salary as what JP’s qualifying offer is and now he is scrambling.

    He can’t let Jesse settle for a lot less money in Europe because of his failure to work with the Oilers and instead tossed out threats. Jesse has obviously told Lehto that he does not want to return to Edmonton, so if he does, that is another failure by Lehto. Both of those options are fireable offenses.

    Now Lehto is trying to say he never said Jesse would go to Europe. That is a blatant lie, if Spector miss quoted Lehto, he would have called Spec right away and clarified it. Spec said that didn’t happen. This most recent song and dance by Lehto has less to do with the Oilers and more to do with saving face with JP to save his client.

    Holland is far too experienced to let an agent push him around and he will be patient and wait for a trade that is good for the Oilers. If JP isn’t with the Oilers next season, it isn’t a big loss and the return on a rushed trade isn’t enough to make a difference for the team either.

    My guess is that JP will either be taking a pay cut and playing in Europe or he will be playing with the Oilers. Either way, I would bet that whatever happens, Lehto will be fired becasue he has really screwed this up. I would also guess that Lehto was key into forcing Oilers management to keep JP in the NHL instead of spending more time in the AHL. Lehto was looking for a big payday 3 years after JP was drafted and put that ahead of what was best for his client.

    • TKB2677

      I completely agree with what you said. Let’s be clear, the agent works for JP so I am sure JP knew exactly what was happening. I think JP and his agent were used to the Oilers under Chia being push overs. Much like some of the super negative Oilers fans think, I think they assumed that Holland was just a puppet. So the agent and JP bluffed Europe assuming the Oilers would roll over and just dump him for anything. The problem is Holland is not a puppet, he’s actually in charge, he didn’t flinch, told them to go to Europe if he wanted too and he called their bluff. Now they are scrambling.

  • Derzie

    What a difference draft decisions make. 2 players that could have easily been on opposite teams. One has an agent who is bonkers and is sewering a career and the other is looking to get between 7M & 8M on his next contract. Neither team would have been sad to pick either player. Very odd.

  • Synthesis

    What a soap opera.
    Edmonton Oilers organizational culture, take a good look people, it is the absolute bottom of the barrel in professional sports and this kid is yet another poster child. Also, his agent is a putz. Complete buffoon on a compounding set of levels.
    Good luck kid….. you are in tough.

  • Moneyball

    As ridiculous as it is to hear a marginal nhl players goofy Agent make demands of the Oilers this is really. Gift horse in the mouth. The oilers could not send pj down to the AHL to get the development time he needs without risking waivers. Now he can goto Europe and develop and the oilers control his contract. The oilers should be sending Jessie’s dumb agent a bottle of scotch and a big thank you letter for solving the Puljujarvi problem. Either he comes back to the oilers nhl ready or he boosts his trade value. Win.win!

  • Copenhagen

    Markus “Rick James” Lehto I am not going to grind my feet in someones couch……….Yah I remember grinding my feet in Eddies couch…….. I never actually said anything………….If he doesn’t get traded,” Lehto confirmed, “he will play in Europe next year.